G20 BMW 330e M Sport plug-in hybrid launched – 292 PS and 420 Nm, 56 km electric range, RM264,613 – paultan.org

At long last, the G20 BMW 330e plug-in hybrid has been launched in Malaysia. Replacing the popular F30, this model carries an almost identical specification to the petrol-powered 330i at a significantly lower price point, all while adding a healthy dose of electric propulsion.

That price, in case you were wondering, is RM264,613 on-the-road without insurance, inclusive of the full sales and service tax (SST) rebate for this locally-assembled vehicle. That makes it nearly RM22,000 less expensive than the 330i.

This figure is only valid on cars built before December 31, after which the 330e reverts to the SST-inclusive price of RM268,800. As always, a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, a five-year free service package and a two-year tyre warranty are included in the purchase.

Of course, the biggest difference between the 330e and its 330i sibling is under the bonnet. Here, B48 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine has been detuned to 184 PS from 5,000 to 6,000 rpm and 300 Nm of torque between 1,350 and 4,000 rpm. For those keeping score at home, those are exactly the same figures as the entry-level 320i.

Supplementing the internal combustion engine’s output is a 50 kW (68 PS) electric motor, bringing the total up to 252 PS and 420 Nm. New for the G20 model is an XtraBoost function that enables the motor to deliver an extra 30 kW (41 PS) of power under acceleration, resulting in a temporary 292 PS. This is accessible via the Sport drive mode, under kickdown and in the gearbox’s sport and manual modes.

Performance figures include a zero-to-100 km/h sprint time of 5.9 seconds (0.2 seconds faster than before) and a top speed of 230 km/h (up 5 km/h). Meanwhile, the car delivers a fuel consumption figure of 2.2 litres per 100 km and carbon dioxide emissions of just 50 grams per kilometre.

Juicing the electric motor is a 12.0 kWh lithium-ion battery that allows for nearly double the pure electric range, at 56 km. It will also travel in this mode at speeds of up to 140 km/h – 20 km/h up compared to before. The battery sits under the rear seats, reducing boot space from 480 litres to 375 litres, though you can increase the amount of cargo you can carry by folding the 40:20:40-split rear seats.

Charging the battery takes six hours with a 230-volt domestic socket, or 3.6 hours using an AC wallbox or public charger with a maximum output of 3.7 kW. Those figures are 4.3 and 2.6 hours respectively when charging up to 80% of maximum capacity. As usual, the charging port door is on the left front fender, this time sitting just under the M badge of this M Sport model.

As mentioned, the kit list reads similarly to the 330i, both coming as standard with the M Sport package, adaptive LED headlights, 18-inch double-spoke Style 790 M two-tone alloy wheels and M Sport brakes. Keyless entry with proximity locking and unlocking is also fitted, complete with a Digital Key function for smartphones. As yet, it is unclear if it supports Apple’s new CarKey feature.

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Inside, you get an M steering wheel, M-specific alloy pedals and power-adjustable sport seats with driver’s side memory. You’ll also find Aluminium Tetragon trim, black headlining and Vernasca leather in either black or cognac. In terms of infotainment, the 330e comes with the top BMW Live Cockpit Professional system, adding a 10.25-inch centre touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

Other bits of kit include LED fog lights, triple-zone automatic climate control, 11-colour ambient lighting, a 10-speaker, 205-watt sound system and a hands-free opening boot lid. One crucial new feature that the 330i lacks is the adaptive M suspension, which should smoothen the brittle ride somewhat.

Just like the rest of the local 3 Series lineup (finally!), the 330e is offered with the Driving Assistant package, which includes autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and rear collision prevention.

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